Ericka Ceballos became quite the animal activist when she was 14th in her hometown in Mexico with the Sociedad Yucateca para la Proteccion de los Animals. Years later she founded CATCA animal welfare/animal conservation organization) in The Netherlands in 1988 to stop animal cruelty around the world, creating their own Campaigns and supporting other national and international animal campaigns. CATCA is a volunteer based organization. We deliver education and information, especially among children and teenager students.
CATCA has had all sort of campaigns, which range from local “blood fiestas” in different small towns all over Spain, “Farra do boi” and “farrinhas” (torture of bulls/calves or donkeys for days in Brazil), bullfights, circuses, animals in laboratories, industrial farms, rodeos, fur industry, seal hunt (Canada, Russia and South Africa), whaling, zoos and aquariums, Taiji/Futo annual dolphin slaughter, elephants and rhino poaching, illegal trade of wild animals, dissection, vivisection, animal transportation, bear bile farms, bear baiting, Faroe islands whale slaughter, bush meat, campaigns for animal welfare, to promote sterilization for pets and more.
When Ericka and the CATCA team noticed in 2007 that the few big and wealthy seal organizations were not jumping to grab the golden opportunity of the possibility of a ban on Canadian seal products at the EU, CATCA launched a large European Campaign from 2007 up to the end of 2009.
CATCA in 2008 had three Seal Tours at the European Union lobbying at the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture, the European Parliament, the European Commission and some European Parliaments for the seals. Ericka representing CATCA was involved in high level lobbying with all the 27 European Union Countries.
Ericka’s efforts played a major role in achieving the ban on the import trade of seal products at the European Union.
These three lobbying tours and CATCA’s international effort coordinating the huge campaign for the seals in Europe (from January 2nd, 2008 to the end of 2010), were possible thanks to Ericka who personally paid for most of the CATCA campaign expenses and to the kind support of local and national anti seal hunt colleagues in Canada and our wonderful colleagues in Ireland, Poland and the US that sent us some money to support our work.
These are the highlights of the successes that we have achieved for the animals with our intensive campaigns and high end lobbying in the last years:
- 2007-2010 CATCA’s huge international effort coordinating 16 international animal welfare/animal rights groups and lobbying all over the European Union, played a major role into getting the ban on the import trade of seal products at the EU.
- For more information about our 3 CATCA Seal Tours in Europe, check this link: http://www.catca-ews.org/catcaews/70.html and check our SEAL SECTION in our website for more information on Ericka’s work for the seals.
- 2008-2009 CATCA got Poland to join the International Whaling Commission (IWC) on the side of the whales.
- 2008-2010 CATCA got Poland to be the most supporting EU country for the total ban on seal products (on the import, export and transit ban).
- January 2008 to 2011: CATCA intervention, has influenced some European countries to seek for national bans on seal products to protect the seals from some trade agreements.
- 2009 CATCA joined forces with the CFNWIC and we promoted/educated the public for almost 4 months outside the cinemas, about the film The Cove in Vancouver and BC, making the film the #1 in sales in North America while creating lots of awareness about this senseless dolphin slaughter in Japan and their connection to the aquarium industry.
- June 2009, our President Ericka Ceballos on behalf of CATCA, managed with her intensive lobbying during the International Whaling Commission Annual Meeting, to hold on a minority of countries at the EU and managed to postpone their vote in favor of the Greenland Proposal to kill 9 endangered humpbacks for 3 years, so the EU because of that minority could not reach an agreement.
- March 2010, CATCA lobbied very hard in CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) with the heads of delegations, that we got a minority of EU countries to go against the threatening Proposals for the African elephant populations, so the EU had no choice but to abstain when the votes time came (in two different days). The EU originally intended to vote in favor of these proposals and Japan was supporting these ivory proposals with all their power and money. Kenya, the country leader of the 24 countries of the African Elephant Coalition, after seen our CATCA President’s huge lobbying effort for the elephants, honored CATCA by asking her to take his Minister of Environment to lobby with her for 3 days. This extreme busy high end lobbying saved at the end about 38,000 African elephant lives.
- March 2010, Our lobbying played a crucial role into achieving the protection of the Satanic beetle (Dynastes satanas) in Appendix II of CITES, last year at the CITES CoP.
- December 2010, CATCA collected money to send for the rehabilitation of domestic, farm and wild animals after a toxic industrial sludge affected thousands of animals in Hungary. A part of the money collected, also helped NOE Animal Refuge in Hungary to help build a new shelter area for cats.
- March 2011, Ericka’s intervention and research, pushed the European Commission to ban the import of brown bear parts and trophies from Russia into the EU some weeks ago. This hunt is done in winter time when the brown bears are hibernating with their cubs, killing the mother for trophy and leaving the bear cubs to starve of hunger. CATCA was the organization that suggested an EU country to speak out to denounce this hunt at the European Commission. This country spoke out and Russia denied this cruel hunt when the European Commission requested information about this issue. As a result, CATCA offered to help by gathering information about this hunt made by the Russians in the Caucasus in several languages online, and submitted that info to that EU country that spoke once more again this brown bear winter den hunt. Russia then had no arguments to deny this hunt and then the EC banned the import trade of brown bear parts from Russia few months ago. Russia after this ban from the EC, promised the EC to ban the hunt. As a result of our intervention, Russia banned in March 2011 the cruel brown bear winter den hunt.
CATCA keeps pushing and trying to secure the seal hunt ban in Europe. We had our last meeting at the European Commission in September 2010 and in April 2011 we had a meeting at the WTO (World Trade Centre), about the case of Canada-Norway vs the EU, for the ban on the import trade of seal products. This EU ban that we helped to achieved, is slowly ending this senseless slaughter of baby seals.
CATCA has become an entrepreneur and an expert in exposing the illegal E-commerce on protected animal species in Latin America since 2009.
2011: Our efforts are finally paying off. A couple of major international Latin American advertisement websites decided to ban all wildlife from their internet site.
CATCA has been directly involved in exposing, notifying the authorities and in the rescue of some primates and other protected animal species, found out in our regular internet monitoring.
2012: Ericka founded the Animal Conservation and Welfare Foundation (ACWF) in Poland. Read about Ericka and the ACWF collaboration that same year with the Kenya Wildlife Service, in an effort to tackle the illegal e-trade of elephant ivory and of protected wildlife in Kenya. For more information about what the ACWF does, check: www.ACWFeu.org
2013: Our last CATCA report – 2013 (made in collaboration with the ACWF): “Internet trade of elephant ivory in Africa and Asia” got many compliments from UNEP authorities, Interpol, delegates, enforcement authorities of five continents, media, elephant experts, NGO’s and others. Also all CATCA’s work exposing the illegal e-trade of protected wildlife in general was highly praised.
We are glad to mention that Interpol has now all our e-trade investigation reports in their files. For more info of this last investigation check this link.
We were surprised at the CITES CoP16 during a UNEP event, when the well known UNEP Ambassador and OBE primatologist Ian Redmond, mentioned our “E-trade monitoring of primates in Latin America” (2011 report) results of this investigation on chimpanzees, Ericka and CATCA.
During the CITES CoP16 in Bangkok in March 2013, Ericka secured a third of all votes for five shark species, freshwater sawfish, manta rays and the African manatee Proposals. All these Proposals were accepted which was a big achievement for all these animal species and for all my other animal colleagues there.
Ericka was representing the ACWF during the CoP, and she praised her Polish delegation for the incredible work that they did at the EU to up-list the Polar bears to Appendix I. Unfortunately we lost that Proposal for the big pressure from Canada against this very important protection of the Polar bears. Ericka and the ACWF/CATCA team are very proud of Poland for all their constant efforts to save this very important Proposal from the US.
In 2013, we changed our name to CATCA ENVIRONMENTAL AND WILDLIFE SOCIETY.
2014-2016 We are committed to expose the e-commerce of elephant ivory at an international level, creating collaborations between the governments and the websites of those countries and urging the governments to monitor and tackle the e-commerce of protected wild animals in their own countries.
Ericka Ceballos after 28 years is still the heart, soul and mind behind CATCA.
In June 2010, Ericka Ceballos from CATCA received from the AD-AV Society of BC, the Animal Campaigner of the Year 2010 Award.